Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

the Polish leaders decided that their chief objective must be the prevention
of any break in the continuity of the Polish State sovereignty. The
military defeat of Poland was not recognised by the country as the end
of the life of the State. This meant, in principle, that the Polish State
continued to operate through all essential authorities, institutions and
organisations of a democratic state within those frontiers which existed
on September i, 1939.
In the stabilisation of this system lay that fundamental difference
between the Polish Underground and the other resistance movements
in countries under German occupation. In every other country, normal
administrative authorities, and normal educational institutions, still
continued to exist unmolested by the invaders, as well as, in most cases,
a more or less constitutional government, co-operating with the Germans,
or else set up within the framework of the occupying administration.
But there was nothing of this kind in Poland. On one hand the Polish
Underground functioned, dependent one hundred per cent on its Govern-
ment in exile, while on the other hand there was the German administra-
tion—one hundred per cent German, and the only relationship between
the two was a state of war. Any Polish citizen who fraternised with or
joined the German governing body, automatically imposed a * verdict of
guilty * upon himself.
There were no rival or separate individual resistance groups aspiring
to seize power in Poland as in the other countries of Europe (for example,
in Belgium where there were seven in all); there was just simply the
state authorities, with the only difference that they were obliged to function
in secret. Such a State in the Underground cannot even be rightfully
called a * resistance movement/ in fact^the term was unknown in Poland*
Any action undertaken by these Underground authorities was in the name
of the Polish Republic.
The Government in exile, which from the first had never lost its con-
tinuity of authority, was primarily the ruling centre for its country, but
as the Underground State in Poland consolidated its position* and increased
its influence and power, the Government in London, it seemed, gradually
fell into the role of an e Embassy of the Underground Polish State/ but
with, great plenipotentiary powers. In 1943, it had already began to
consult the advice of these political representatives inside Poland on any
important question and by 1944 was entirely dependant upon the in-
structions received from that country.
For years the Polish Government had been most anxious not to advertise
the existing conditions relating to the Underground, but when Moscow
commenced its campaign in 1943 ^^ early 1944 against the * Polish
emigre Government * as representing only the c ruling classes/ the Polish
Prime Minister presented the true facts of the situation in his speech to
his home-land on January 6,1944: